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Treadmills vs Free running

  1. Jun 30, 2011 #1
    Hi, guys. I'm currently debating the value of treadmills on a health forum.

    It seems to me that once a treadmill is at speed, running on it will be (disregarding windfriction and an inability to turn, ever), basically the same mechanic as running over a flat "ground," with the same relative velocity.

    The guy I am discussing it with gave a lengthy discussion about overcoming friction, moments of inertia etc. But it seems to me that relative motion is relative motion, and that's basically that.

    Am I dumb?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2011 #2


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    welcome to pf!

    hi bennyboy! welcome to pf! :wink:
    exactly! :smile:

    it's all relative … it's the same as running on a train that's going backward at the same speed!

    the only difference (apart, as you say, from wind resistance) would be the extra advantage of the slight springiness of the treadmill

    having said that … isn't running on the ground better, since since it actually gets you somewhere? o:)
  4. Jun 30, 2011 #3

    Ranger Mike

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    being a fat ( beer???) middle age guy..I returned to a daily run..am up to 2 miles in 20 minutes..on a tread mill..the motorized hi tech thing is great...and being old..it is easier on the stress impact then the road..plus no pot holes. ruts, vehicles with texting drivers, dogs, etc...same results..i feel great..gotta go get a beer...
  5. Jun 30, 2011 #4
    I prefer hiking, however sometimes being able to put specific numbers to the activity is useful for checking progress. :)

    lol gotta have a 6-pack one way or the other, I guess. :P
  6. Jun 30, 2011 #5


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    I've had this discussion before with a (non-scientist) flatmate. He walks two and a half miles to the gym, goes on the treadmill for 30mins then comes back (he does other stuff but the treadmill is the issue). I keep telling him he would be better off running to the gym and back to save money but he insists the treadmill is better for him.

    It exasperates me trying to convince him otherwise.
  7. Jun 30, 2011 #6
    I started using the treadmill for the practical benefits, like beeping timers, the ability to set a specific speed, and proximity to girls in tight clothing. :)

    Treadmills are definitely useful, due to your ability to control aspects of your physical environment that you can't in real life-- but going for a jog with the beagle is about 1000x more fun-- there's no arguing that!
  8. Jun 30, 2011 #7


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    It can be better for the knees and all those other parts that hurt after a run, especially if he's heavy.

    I'll argue against it. The claim that it's boring to run on a treadmill has never made any sense to me. It's the running that's boring, not the treadmill. The only time I was on a treadmill and wished that I had been outside was when the TV was showing Jersey shore. I had never seen it before, and it was quite painful to watch.
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